How much should professional video editing cost?

by | Mar 13, 2023 | Video Editing

Video content has become essential to modern-day communication, especially with the rise of social media platforms such as YouTube and TikTok. As a result, businesses and individuals have started investing in video production and editing services to create engaging content that can reach a wider audience. However, the cost of professional editors and their services can vary significantly based on the type of video, the experience level of the editor, and the final video’s length and complexity. Knowing these issues before hiring a freelance video editor is a good idea. It is the best way to control costs and keep the average cost down.

How much should professional video cost editing cost?

Hourly vs. Fixed Rate for Video Editing

A professional and experienced video editor can charge either hourly or flat rates for their services. An hourly rate is a fee for each hour of the editor’s work. Different rates can vary depending on the editor’s experience level and the type of video project they are working on. On the other hand, a flat rate is a fixed fee for the entire video editing project, regardless of the number of hours the editor works.

Hourly rates are used when the project’s scope needs to be better defined and the editor cannot estimate how long it will take to complete the project. In such cases, hourly rates provide more flexibility and allow the editor to charge the client for the actual amount of work done. However, hourly rates can also increase costs if the project takes longer than expected.

Flat rates are more commonly used when the project’s scope is well-defined, and the editor will calculate how long it will take to complete the project. Flat rates provide more certainty to the client about the project’s total cost and incentivize the editor to complete the project efficiently. However, flat rates can also result in lower earnings for the editor if the project takes longer than expected.

Generally, a freelance editor will cost less than an editor hired through a production company. But the production company will then supervise the editing process.

But whether or not its an hourly or a fixed rate, the final cost will depend on the amount of time is required to produce the final product.

Type of Video

The type of video edited is a significant factor that can affect the cost of video editing services. Different types of videos have different levels of complexity, which can require other editing skills and resources. For example, a simple one-minute video that requires only basic editing and color grading will cost significantly less than a complex corporate video that requires special effects, sound design, and advanced editing techniques. Yet both videos could be only a minute in length.

YouTube videos are one of the most popular videos requiring video editing services. A YouTube video editor can charge anywhere from $20 to $100 per hour, depending on their experience level and the project’s complexity. YouTube videos typically require basic editing techniques such as cutting and trimming, color correction, and audio adjustments. However, YouTube videos that need advanced editing techniques, such as special effects, animation, and motion graphics, can cost significantly more.

Corporate videos are another type of video that requires professional video editing services. Corporate videos typically require more advanced editing techniques, such as special effects, sound design, and color grading. The cost of editing a corporate video can range from $75 to $250 per hour, depending on the editor’s experience level and the project complexity.

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Other Factors affecting Video Editing Costs

In addition to the type of video, final video length and complexity, and experience level of the editor, there may be other factors that can affect the cost of video editing services. These could include the geographic location of the editor, the demand for their services, the quality of their equipment, and the type of client they are working with. An editor located in Los Angeles or New York may command a higher rate than in a smaller center.

Here are other factors

Turnaround Time: If a client requires a quick turnaround time, for example by end of the day, the cost may increase as the editor must work on the project outside their usual working hours.

Additional Services: If a client requires other services such as color grading, audio mixing, or motion graphics, the cost of the editing services will increase accordingly.

License and Royalties: The editor will pass on extra charges if the editor needs to use licensed footage, music, or stock images, the cost of obtaining those licenses, and royalties.

Revisions: If a client requests multiple modifications, the cost of the editing services may increase as it would require additional time and effort from the editor.

Confidentiality: If the project requires strict confidentiality, such as for corporate videos or sensitive material, the editor may charge a premium for the added security measures.

Size and Format: If the final video needs to be delivered in a specific size or format, the editor may need to use specialized software or equipment, which could increase the cost of the editing services.

Collaborations: If multiple editors are working on the project or need to collaborate with other professionals such as animators or sound engineers, the cost may increase to cover the additional fees.

Overall, the cost of video editing services can vary widely depending on various factors. Therefore, clients need to discuss their requirements and budget with potential editors to ensure that they can provide the necessary services within the client’s budget.

How much should professional video cost

Final Video Length and Complexity

The final length and complexity of the video are also significant factors that can affect the cost of video editing services. Longer videos require more editing time, which can result in higher costs. Similarly, videos with higher levels of complexity, such as special effects, sound design, and advanced color grading, can also require more editing time and resources, resulting in higher costs.

A one-minute video typically requires between one to two hours of editing time, depending on the level of complexity. Therefore, editing a one-minute video can range from $50 to $250, depending on the editor’s experience level and the project’s complexity.

For longer videos, the cost of editing can increase significantly. For example, a ten-minute video can require between ten to twenty hours of editing time, costing between $500 to $3000, depending on the editor’s experience level and the project’s complexity. 

Similarly, a thirty-minute video can require between thirty to sixty hours of editing time, costing $1500 to $9000, depending on the editor’s experience level and the project’s complexity.

Experience Level of the Video Editor

The experience level of the video editor is another critical factor that can affect the cost of video editing services. An experienced editor with a proven track record can command higher rates than freelance video editors just starting in the industry.

Experienced video editors typically charge between $75 to $200 per hour, depending on their experience level and the project’s complexity. However, more experienced editors with impressive portfolios can charge higher rates, ranging from $200 to $500 per hour or even more.

On the other hand, freelance video editors typically charge lower rates than experienced editors, ranging from $20 to $75 per hour, depending on their experience level and the project’s complexity. However, freelance editors may have different levels of experience and may not be able to deliver the same quality of work as experienced editors.

Day Rates

Some professional video editors charge day rates instead of hourly or flat rates. Day rates are fees for an entire work day, typically between 8 to 10 hours. It provide more flexibility to the editor and the client, allowing them to work on a project for a full day without worrying about the hourly rate.

Day rates can range from $500 to $2000 per day, depending on the editor’s experience level and the project’s complexity. Day rates are typically charged for larger video production projects, where the editor must work on multiple videos longer.

Average Rates

The average rate for professional video editors can vary depending on the editor’s experience level, the type of video, and the final video’s length and complexity. However, according to a recent survey conducted by the Freelancers Union, the average hourly rate for professional video editors in the United States is $50 to $75 per hour.

The survey also found that experienced video editors with a proven track record can charge between $100 and $200 per hour, while freelance video editors typically charge between $25 and $50 per hour. The survey also found that the average flat rate for video editing services is $500 to $1500 per project.

How much should professiona video cost editing cost?

Higher Rates for Professional Level Work

Professional video editors with experience working on high-end projects such as feature films, television shows, and commercials can command much higher rates than other video editors. Video editors who have worked on high-profile projects have a proven track record and are in high demand in the industry. These editors can charge $500 to $1000 per hour.

In conclusion, the cost of video editing services varies significantly based on several factors, including the type of video, the final video’s length and complexity, the editor’s experience level, and the editor’s pricing model. Therefore, clients should consider their budget and the quality of work they require when selecting a video editor. Communicating with the video editor about the project’s scope and expectations is essential to meet potential clients’ needs. With proper communication and understanding, clients can find a professional video editor who can deliver high-quality work at a fair price.

Other factors that are affecting the cost

Increased competition: As more people can access video editing tools and produce their own content, the market for professional video editing services may become more competitive. It could lead to lower prices for video editing services and make it harder for professionals to make a living.

Potential for new markets: While DIY video editing tools may decrease the demand for professional services in some areas, they could also create new opportunities for video editors to work with clients with more basic editing needs. For example, small businesses or individual content creators who previously could not afford professional editing services may now be able to create basic videos using DIY tools and still benefit from the services of a professional editor to improve their content.

Shift in skill requirements: As DIY tools become more advanced and user-friendly, video editing professionals may need to adapt their skillset to remain competitive. They may need to focus on higher-level editing tasks, such as color correction, sound mixing, or animation, that require a more advanced skillset than what can be achieved with DIY tools.

Increased collaboration: The rise of DIY video editing tools may also create more opportunities for cooperation between professionals and non-professionals. For example, a non-professional content creator may create a basic video using a DIY tool and then hire a professional editor to add more advanced elements or provide feedback on the overall quality of the video.

Importance of storytelling: With the increase in the accessibility of video editing tools, the importance of storytelling in video content will become even more critical. Professionals may need to focus more on their work’s creative and storytelling aspects.

Sub Industries

Video editing costs are impacted by a specific sub-industry that uses video editors. Here are some ways in which the following industries affect video editing costs:

Weddings and Events: 
Video editing costs for weddings and events tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum. Clients often have a fixed budget and are looking for simple, clean edits that capture the essence of their special day. Additionally, these events are one-time projects, and the video editor may have yet to repeat business. Therefore, the video editor must balance producing a quality product while keeping the cost within the client’s budget.

Commercials, Promotional Videos and Branded Storytelling: 
In this sub-industry, video editing costs are typically higher because of the high production value needed to stand out. Clients are looking for a unique and compelling visual story that aligns with their brand’s message, which requires a more advanced skill set from the video editor. Additionally, video editors in this sub-industry often need to work with tight deadlines, which can also impact the cost of video editing.

Documentary Features and Music Videos: Music video and documentary editing tend to be more artistic and creative, which can result in higher video editing costs. In this sub-industry, the video editor’s job is to tell a story with an emotional connection to the audience. Therefore, the video editor must work closely with the director and the producer to achieve the desired effect, which can take more time and resources.

Episodic Programs: Episodic programs like TV shows and web series require consistent editing style and pacing. This consistency requires more time and effort, which can result in higher video editing costs. Additionally, video editors working on episodic programs must adhere to strict deadlines and broadcast standards, which can also affect the cost of video editing.

Scripted Features: In this sub-industry, the video editing costs are typically higher due to the project’s complexity. Scripted features involve multiple camera angles, special effects, and a higher level of post-production work, all requiring more time and expertise from the video editor. Furthermore, these projects have stricter deadlines, and the video editor must work closely with the director and the producer to achieve the desired outcome.

Conclusion

In conclusion, video editing has become an essential service for businesses and individuals looking to create engaging content that can reach a wider audience. The cost of video editing services can vary widely depending on various factors, such as the type of video, final video length and complexity, and experience level of the editor. Clients can choose between hourly rates or flat rates, depending on the project’s scope and level of definition. Factors such as turnaround time, additional services, license and royalties, revisions, confidentiality, size and format, and collaborations can also affect costs. Therefore, clients must discuss their requirements and budget with potential editors to ensure that they can provide the necessary services within the client’s budget.

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